My laptop has failed after the computer was dropped. Having failed to fix the problem myself, I called in an expert and have been told that the hard drive is physically damaged and it will take a few weeks to find out whether all, some or none of the documents, photos etc can be recovered.
Back up? Yes I have an external drive on which everything backs up automatically once a week. At least it was supposed to - when I went to check, I found that the last weekly back up was done in early January. So I could be looking at a loss of four and a half months worth of financial records, photos, progress on my novel and other data.